Wednesday 28 September 2016

Police officer shot dead during traffic stop in San Diego

Published 29/07/2016 | 12:26

San Diego Police Swat officers prepare to enter a house with a possible suspect inside (AP)
San Diego Police Swat officers prepare to enter a house with a possible suspect inside (AP)
Emergency services near the scene of the shooting in San Diego (San Diego Union-Tribune/AP)

A San Diego police officer has been killed and another wounded in a shoot-out following a late-night traffic stop.

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A suspect was wounded and taken into custody shortly afterwards, and hours later police surrounded a home as they searched for a man described as a possible accomplice.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman identified the dead officer as Jonathan DeGuzman, a 16-year veteran of the force who was married with two children. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Officer Wade Irwin, 32, underwent surgery after being shot and was expected to survive, Ms Zimmerman said. His wife was at the hospital during surgery.

Both officers were wearing bulletproof vests and body cameras, and quickly called for assistance from other officers, Ms Zimmerman said.

"It happened extremely quickly, very quickly," she added.

"From the information that was put out that a stop was being made to that the officers called for emergency cover to when the other officers arrived on scene, we're talking very, very quickly, Seconds to a minute or so. Very quickly."

The male suspect was captured in a nearby ravine and was being treated at a hospital on Friday.

Police did not identify him but Ms Zimmerman said he was in a critical condition with a gunshot wound.

Residents were ordered to stay in their homes throughout the night as San Diego police and officers from other law enforcement agencies scoured ravines and streets for other possible suspects. A helicopter hovered over the neighbourhood.

Around nine hours after the shoot-out, heavily armed police officers surrounded a house about half a mile away, one of them using a megaphone to urge a man to surrender.

Authorities also detonated several devices at the scene that made deafening booms.

Ms Zimmerman said a potential second suspect was holed up in the house and that information she did not describe led officers to the home.

She told reporters she had worked with Mr DeGuzman before she was promoted to the police chief post in 2014.

"I can tell you he is a loving, caring husband, father. Talked about his family all the time," Ms Zimmerman said. "I know him, and this is gut-wrenching. He cared. He came to work every day wanting to just make a positive difference in the lives of our community."

After visiting Mr Irwin later at UC San Diego Medical Centre, Ms Zimmerman told reporters that the officer's prospects for recovery were good.

"It's a little bit of a long haul until he makes a full recovery, but the good news is that he is going to survive and he is going to recover," she said outside the hospital.

The shooting came as law officers around the country are on high alert following the killing of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this month.

"Violence against the men and women who wear the badge is violence against us all," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said after the shootings in his city.

"I ask all San Diegans and all people across our nation to join together in support of our officers who courageously protect our communities. We need them and they need us."

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch mentioned the San Diego shooting during a meeting with police officers and other first responders in Baton Rouge on Friday, where a gunman killed three on-duty law enforcement officers earlier this month.

"I know this community, more than most, knows exactly what these families are feeling at this moment," she said.

AP

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